Monday, March 30, 2009

Kona - the first few days

We arrived into Kona on Saturday evening around 7:30 local time. We headed straight to the hotel to check in and to change into more Hawaii appropriate clothing before heading out to dinner. We had dinner and a couple drinks at a restaurant on Ali'i overlooking the bay and got back to the hotel about 10:00. Yes, that was by far our latest night out.

Sunday morning was up early and brunch at Lava Java before heading up to Waikaloa resort to watch the Lavaman race. Chris McCormack was the winner for the men and Lisa Mensink (Canadian girl) won for the women.

While the weather was fine for the pros and fast finishers, the wind really picked up while the faster people were running and the rest of the people were still out on the bike. Driving back to Kona I felt awful for some of the slower people still out on the bike course. I said to Graeme that if it was me out there I would probably be crying. Some of the slowest finishers were in the 5:30+ range for an Olympic. It was a tough day.

The rest of the day included a 30 min run which was way harder then it should be due to the fact that I had gone from running in cold to 80 and humid and then a 30 min swim that I was just not into. Well, I was into floating around in the pool and was in there for 45 mins, but only about 30 counted as actual swimming. I love swimming outdoors though and the Kona Aquatics pool is not only outdoors (of course) but free! I just had a vacation mind set which I really don't feel too badly about.

Monday we played in the ocean and explored some of the local sites including the Place of Refuge. We had to wait until later on Monday to pick up rental bikes as most of theirs were out for the race on Sunday. I rode a Cannondale Synapse and Graeme had a Trek. Both bikes were heavier then our own, but were still comfortable. After picking up the bike we went for a short but hilly ride down Ali'i and straight up Kam III and up and up and up! 46 mins going up and 22 coming back down. Even coming down wasn't that fast as the wind was coming straight in off the ocean. It was nice to ride without a million layers on but the change in temperatures and the hill climbing had a literal stream of sweat running off my face!

Me trying to look strong looking down over the bay.

Monday evening was relaxing and of course eating and drinking. No vacation would be right without both of these!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Vacation time!

Well in about an hour we head to the airport to go to Hawaii and I am SO looking forward to it. We will have the laptop so there may be an update while we are there.

I wasn't feeling that great on Thursday/Friday so I did my 45 min trainer ride on Thursday morning then skipped the swim on Thursday evening. I ended up doing that swim on Friday morning but then skipping the run on Friday evening. I had wanted to run at lunch on Friday and had brought my stuff. Only to realize after getting to the gym and when I was already partially dressed (on the bottom) that I had forgot a sports bra. One of those days I guess. Its apparent my brain needs a break!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A mid-week update

Almost half way through the work week and only a few more days until we're on vacation! So this week is a rest week workout wise and next week is a rest week brain wise!

To recap the last few days...

Saturday - nada. My back was not happy when I got up. At 5am. We were supposed to be skiing but there was no way it was happening. I ended up lying on the floor for a few hours. Luckily I got an appointment with my chiro and she did some graston on it and released a lot of the muscle tension. It's not 100% but the pain is now lower down and more manageable. It was a painful session and left me with little parallel lines on either side of my spine. The subsided quickly though.

Sunday - back was feeling much better, but I still didn't want to risk riding outside. Instead I did a brick of 90 mins on the trainer followed by a 30 min run outside. The run included what I think is my fastest mile yet (7:47) with 5K in 25:30 and then a cool down to 30 mins for an overall pace of 8:30. It felt really good. And I was warm! More sunshine on my legs! Later that afternoon I swam for 40 mins.

Monday - 40 min swim including a 30 min lesson. I have so much to work on! I really like this coach though and feel like i will be able to make some progress. Apparently I look like I should be going faster then I am. That's helpful!

Tuesday - 30 min run in the am. Legs were dead. I felt like my left leg just didn't want to come around. I did 15 mins on stretching and rolling after which really helped. Yesterday evening was 45 mins on the trainer with 3x8 min hard intervals.

Wednesday - 30 min run after work. A lot better than Tuesday's run. Pace was about 9:12. Followed the run by a 40 min swim. I was really trying to incorporate what I've been taught in the lessons and can feel some lengths are really good and others are not. I think with more time I will be able to put it together. At least better then it is now!

I really need to pack! I feel like I have no summer clothes that aren't workout clothes. I guess its a good thing we are planning on this being a very active vacation.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Finishing the work week off on a high note


I had planned to have Graeme drop me off on the north shore side of the bridge after work. I started at the bottom of the Capilano River Trail and ran up, up, up to the top of the Cleveland Dam.

On top of the Cleveland Dam

Me giddy not only to be running on a trail after work but in SUNSHINE! I had sun on my legs! So not just sun, but not freezing cold and sun.

I then ran down on the road to home. Total of just under 7.4 m in 75 mins. The trail miles were about 2 mins per mile slower than the road miles, but so much more enjoyable. I am so glad I had a good run. My workouts this week have been lagging and I wasn't sure I'd even be able to run the whole thing and had visions of having to walk out of the canyon (ok, not quite that bad), but I felt strong. Being on the trail really energized me. Of course the mile up the hill back home didn't feel great, but I'll be shocked the first day it does.

Other workouts this week:

Mon - 45 min run. I felt trashed after.

Tues - 90 mins on the trainer. After the crappy run on Monday I was worried about this, but it actually felt great.

Wed - 30 min swim am. Was supposed to be 40 but my back has been bothering me since the fall. 40 min run after work. It was supposed to be easy, but it was not. I was done after. But my in-laws were over for dinner so no early bed time.

Thu - Off.. I was exhausted and skipped both workouts.

Fri - Swam this am in lieu of yesterday's skipped swim workout. We went to the 50m pool before work. I felt like I was barely moving forward but Graeme says I looked fluid and good. Who knows. We had time after to have breakfast together before work which was really nice.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

March Madness

So, its not something I have talked about on here, but I am a HUGE sports fan. Growing up I had thoughts of becoming a sports broadcaster. I watch everything. My favourite team are the Canucks, and my favourite sport to watch is NFL, but the best thing in sports and one of my favourite times of year is the NCAA tournament. I am the oldest of 4 and have 3 younger brothers and we all look forward to the Madness. My picks are in and the first games are under way. I am serious about my bracketology but this year wasn't able to give it the same time and research. I am sure that will have an effect on my standings. Based on what's going on in the first few games, I may be out of luck from the start. Last year I was second but that's already looking like a longshot right now.

Even if you are not a big fan, being involved in a pool gives you a lot more ownership of the games and in general makes the tournament more exciting. We'll be away for the final week of the tournament and you can bet my inside downtime will be spent watching it on TV - as pretty much every spring break of my school career was.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

More exploring

This morning I explored more of the Capilano River Trail, heading north from Park Royal Mall. Although next time I would park closer and spend more time on the trail, it was still a great run. The first few kms were spent really getting into the trail and it was mostly flat road/trail. After passing the backside of the suspension bridge, the trail became more technical, but still not difficult. There were quite a few runners and walkers out, but not enough to make it feel crowded. Lots of stairs and bridges and great views. Even though it was a very wet morning, the canopy of the forest kept me from getting soaked.

From the lookout down the canyon. There was lots of mist hanging over the river.

About 100 ft from my car, I slipped on wet leaves and went down hard on rough pavers. Thankfully no really bad damage, but a very bruised and cut hip, bruised and scratched shin (through tights!) and both knees bruised. I drove home, took 2 ibuprofen and iced everything. So the run was cut 10 mins short and was only 70 instead of 80 mins and I didn't swim but it could have been a lot worse.

It was a busy week work wise, but my workouts were good and definitely helped with the work stress.

Monday - 4 mile run after work. Beautiful and clear but COLD. Still lots of snow around but it had warmed up and the snow was sparkling on the trees. Pretty much right after I did a 45 min swim including a 30 min lesson. The lesson was really good. I have a lot to work on, but I really felt it was beneficial and I will be taking more of them.

Tuesday - 60 min trainer ride including some 5 and 10 min intervals.

Wednesday - 5 mile run at sunset. My legs managed to be tired, sore (shins) and strong feeling all at once.

Thursday - 45 min trainer am, 45 min swim pm. Lots of focus on everything from my swim lesson

Friday - 35 min run after work. Skipped my swim. Was at the hospital late on Thursday evening to visit my friend her baby in the neo-natal unit (baby is doing well now) and was exhausted.

Monday, March 9, 2009

More winter?!?

It's true. Winter is back. Cold temperatures and snow. Normal highs for this time of year are around 10/50. I would love for normal right now. In 45 minutes yeterday afternoon we got well over an inch of snow where we live. And it snowed more overnight. And more again today. Graeme is really hoping the roads don't get too salted or sanded as they have just recovered from all the December/January snow and he has a lot of riding to do in the next few months.

45 min run - even though I was slightly hungover from a work function the night before I got out and got it done.

20 min swim after work. This was meant to be 45 mins but I got home from work late and didn't realize public swim at the pool starts at 7:30 on Fridays. So 15 mins with lanes and another 5 mins without before we were chased out of the pool by diving kids.

7.5 mi run. The longest is a long time. It took a while to get in a groove, but I eventually got there. I did some more discovering of some local trails and have no idea why I haven't run there before. There will be lots of trail running there from now on.

15 min swim. My back was bothering me and I didn't want to push it. Still a good amount of swimming for the week when I haven't been in a while.

1:40 bike ride. Even though it was cold yesterday, I bundled up and went out for a ride. This was before the snow arrived! It was hard and slow. I think my body was using up too many calories trying to stay warm and I ended up having to stop at a little corner store for a chocolate bar. I did feel much better after that. I stopped to take some photos with my blackberry. The ocean was incredibly sparkling and blue. I think it was too bright for the poor blackberry camera because the photos didn't turn out at all. After taking the pictures I put my bb back in my pocket and rode away. I hit a little bump a couple hundred meters up the road and my bb flew out of my back pocket and smashed on the road. The battery flew out but somehow when I put it back together it was fine. And there is only a minor scuff on the plastic. I am lucky no one was driving behind me or else it probably would have been run over.

Even though it was a cold hard ride, it was still a victory for me. Last year I would have just gotten on the trainer. I am making a point of getting outside when I can. Even if its cold and I'm by myself.

The best part of the weekend? We booked a trip to Hawaii and leave in less than 3 weeks! The vacation needed to be somewhere Graeme could keep training so there will be lots of riding, running and swimming. And of course relaxing. With this most recent blast of winter I am really looking forward to it. I just hope I don't blind anyone with my incredible whiteness.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Feeling normal

There is nothing like being sick to make you appreciate how good "normal" feels. I have been back to normal for a few days now and I am so thankful. Thankful that the mystery sickness wasn't more serious and thankful that I am able to do what I love to do. I am a much nicer and happier person when I working out. Now, this doesn't mean I feel thrilled to do every workout. I am a regular person. I get tired, cranky and lazy just like the next person. But I know that I feel much better after I have worked out. And I know that I gain a sense of fulfillment from being able to push myself and work toward getting better at something. It is not easy for me. I am not a natural runner and didn't grow up swimming laps, but I crave the feeling of accomplishment and enjoy pushing myself toward a goal.

I did my first "workout" last Thursday. It was a 15 minute run that felt awful. I don't think I was really up to it quite yet. Friday I did 3 miles which still felt way too hard for how short and not fast it was. Saturday I ran 40 minutes and just over 4 miles. It was hard too, but I made it through it. Of course my left calf is still giving me some grief and I had to walk up some of the hill back home. Well that and my 2 week layoff has really made me feel out of shape. I have a point on the outside of my left calf that had a slight bruise even before I started self massage on it. That was a little scary, but I am pretty sure its nothing as it didn't get any worse.

Sunday started the real turn around. 30 min swim. I kept it short as it had been so long since I had been in the pool. But it felt really good. My body position somehow felt better. Monday was another 45 min swim which again felt good. I don't know why it happens but whenever I've had a layoff for whatever reason from the pool, the first few swims back always feel good. Of course the few swims after that I feel like I am flailing around.

Graeme told me many times when I was sick that I would come back even more motivated. He has had an ear surgery each of the last 3 years which have resulted in layoffs from all exercise from 2-6 weeks. He said each time he was able to come back, he just felt so much more desire and motivation to work as hard as he could. I doubted him, and it may be too early to tell, but I think he may be on to something.

The rest of the workouts so far this week have gone like this.

Tuesday - 90 min trainer
Wednesday - 40 min run (calf was sore, but I pushed through and it didn't get worse), 45 min swim
Thursday - 45 min trainer

And hopefully I'll keep on a roll. And stay healthy!